Mercedes Benz Fashion Week kicked off yesterday (Feb. 9) in New York City with the annual amfAR gala, held at Cipriani’s downtown.
The event was held in honor of President Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Taylor, Diane Von Furstenberg and Dr. Mathilde Krim for their work in the fight against AIDS. But the highlight of the evening was a special performance by Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick, who reunited for the first time in more than 25 years to sing “That’s What Friends Are For.”
Video: Stars gather for amfAR’s 25th annivesary
Introduced by singer Patti LaBelle — who joked about not being asked to appear on the original track — the foursome hit the stage towards the end of the evening for a warm rendition of the legendary track which won them a standing ovation.
But before that, Clinton’s daughter Chelsea Clinton presented him with his award and had some nice words to share with the crowd about her father. “The work he has done, the work he is doing and the work he will continue to do” for AIDS research is priceless, she said before embracing him.
Taylor, who wasn’t in attendance, was honored by Elton John, who read a note to the room from the absent winner. “I am touched by this honor and very sad not to be in such esteemed company… I am there in spirit and I join you in saluting my fellow honorees and all these extraordinary leaders. I am inspired by their example, exhilarated by their vision and encouraged by their compassion and love,” he shared.
An auction also took place during the evening, during which art, a photograph and a Humblot watch were auctioned; $1.5 million was raised as a result.
Others in attendance included Police Commissioner Raymod Kelly, actress Blake Lively, model Iman, Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and actor Richard Gere, who filled in for a flu-stricken Whoopi Goldberg, among others. Karen Elson and violinist David Garrett were among the performers.